Dubai’s Emirates Airline has launched flights to its fifth city in Pakistan – Sialkot.
The city, about 125km north of the capital Lahore, is the capital of Sialkot District in the north-east of the Punjab province in Pakistan.
Emirates said in a statement on Tuesday the new service would provide an alternative gateway to the Export Triangle of Pakistan – the area encompassing Gujrat, Sialkot and Gujranwala.
The city is renowned as a key manufacturing base particularly for sports goods and clothing, gloves, surgical instruments, cutlery, ceramics and leather garments.
The airline will use an A330-200 with capacity for up to 17 tonnes of cargo.
The new service marks a milestone for both Emirates and the Sialkot International Airport, which is Pakistan’s first private airport.
The South Asian nation was the first country to receive Emirates’ flights in October 1985.
“Since then the airline has steadily grown its network and continued to link the Pakistani community to the UAE as well as to worldwide destinations, making it easier to connect with friends, family and trade opportunities. Dubai and Pakistan have very close links due to the large community of Pakistanis living in the region and the level of trade between the UAE and Pakistan,” Emirates senior vice president commercial operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean, Ahmed Khoory said.
Sialkot International Airport chairman Ashfaq Ahmed Chaudhry said: “Having Emirates commence operations here will boost the regional economy, and offers Emirates passengers a convenient new entry point to Pakistan through our modern and efficiently run facility.”
Emirates now operates 66 flights a week to Pakistan, including four to Sialkot, 35 to Karachi, 11 each to Lahore and Islamabad and five to Peshawar.